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THE PIERCING OF THE YOKUT SHIELD

THE PIERCING OF THE YOKUT SHIELD

QUOTES FROM A HISTORY TEXT BY DR.JOHN ANDERSON

ON THE TEJON INDIAN RESERVATION

The book called ThePiercing of the Yokut Shield tells the story of the defeat of the Yokut Indians in California's central valley, and how the victory of the invading Americans troops quickly led to the surrender of the previously independent Tejon Indians. This website focuses on the second part of the book, which documents the story of the Tejon Treaty of 1851.


THE TEJON TREATY

"The Tejon made a shrewd bargain on June 10 (1851).... In effect, these original proposals demanded that the Tejon government cede vast mountain and desert territories in exchange for perpetual sovereignty over the (water and mineral rich) southern end of the Central valley. The federals agreeed to recognize Tejon rights to extensive foothill lands where most of their agricultural fields were already located.

The Americans clung stubbornly to their prearranged negotiation tactics, satisfying themselves with acquistion of gold-bearing mountain areas. The fact that they were basically unfamiliar with the central valley, seeing it for the first time in dry season, accounts for this disinterest in native claims on the apparently worthless valley floor. From their limited perspective, this area of California was uninhabitable for most of the year- filled with malaria carrying mosquitoes, too boggy for practical agricultural use, and nearly impossible to travel through during winter flooding. Little did they know that the treaty lands would prove far more valuable than the surrounding mountains, impacting the economic well-being of the continent for the next hundred years. It was destined to become the battle ground of giant corporations, who would fight one another for control of agricultural, mining, and oil resources." (page 21)


THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HIDES THE TREATY

"The hostility of immigrants against native Californians did not diminish in the years following the treaties. Colonial defiance against native rights increased with each crisis, until the most belligerent Americans began to agitate for commplete confiscation of native lands.

Settlers from the south Atlantic slave states led this confiscation movement, agitating in mining districts in favor of genocidal war against natives in order to eliminate their land claims. American miners from the 'free' north Atlantic and mid-western states found these outrageous proposals advantageous to their own interests and did little to intervene. As a consequence, miners helped elect a governor and two senators openly hostile to native rights.

Overnight, Tejon and all of the Central valley fell under the ominous shadow of race hatred. The newly elected American governor proposed a war of extermination against all native citizens of California. Both elected California Senators joined him in demanding the nullification of the eighteen 1851 treaties. In June of 1852, a year after the Tejon proceedings, the treaties were debated by the American congress in secret session. The Senators refused to release any information on these negotiations, simply announcing the rejection of all eighteen California treaties. In the end, the Senate overrode objections by the press, vocal church leaders and human rights advocates, voting to lock all written copies of the California treaties into a secret vault, to be kept from public scrutiny for fifty years." (page 28)


THE AFTERMATH OF THE TREATY

"In the end, Tejon leaders placed responsibility for the protection of their peoples on the shoulders of the colonial representatives. They trusted the American interpreter to make an accurate English translation of the proceedings. This simple act of diplomatic courtesy would prove a fatal mistake.

Civil rights for California natives fell to an all-time low during the early period of American rule. Corruption was rampant and the worst elements of human nature came to the fore.

One of the most unfortunate consequences of the ongoing anarchy in California was Washington's tolerance of wide-spread corruption among army officers and federal employees. Powerful families on the Atlantic coast used their influence to have their sons appointed as government agents to California native groups."


For information on ordering this text, see the link called Other books by J. Anderson.

For Native California Organizations With Historical Ties To the Tejon Reservation, contact:

The Bakerfield Chumash Council (Bakersfield), the Kern Valley Indian Association (Kernville), the Tule River Indian Reservation (Box 589, Porterville, 93257; Yokuts from Tejon were exiled to this reservation), and the Santa Ynez Chumash Reservation (Tejon Chumash went to Bakersfield, and also to the coast. Here, they scattered among all the surviving Chumash communities. The Santa Ynez Reservation, Box 517, Santa Ynez, 93460, is the only contemporary Chumash group with federal recognition and a landbase; ask for information about the numerous other contemporary Chumash associations).

More Quotes from the Book
Seven Villages
Fort Tejon
Corner Eight
Tule River War
Other Books by J. Anderson

Email: bookroom44@hotmail.com